Champagne region near Epernay, France. Photo via Flickr:Pug Girl

Strolling through Paris, France. Photo via Flickr:Moyan Brenn
4.7/5 (17 ratings)

Champagne Tour

France Bike + Barge Tours

A bike and boat tour in France from Paris to Épernay or Épernay to Paris

  • During this bike and boat tour in France, you will pedal through the beautiful Marne River valley and the world famous Champagne region, either beginning in Paris, the city of light, or ending there depending on your tour date.

    In 2015, UNESCO granted the Champagne area world heritage status! The vineyards, wine cellars, and sale houses where the grapes are grown, stored, and produced are all culturally significant. In fact, there are many sparkling wines but only the wine produced in this region of France with its chalky soil and perfect climatic conditions can be called Champagne.

    You will have the opportunity to cycle to boutique wineries, sample a variety of champagnes, taste delicious Brie cheese and generally discover everything that the Champagne UNESCO world heritage region has to offer.

    Remember gentlemen, it's not just France we are fighting for, it's Champagne! Winston Churchill

    And if the Champagne region was not enough, you will also have the opportunity to explore Paris, one of Europe’s most beautiful and beloved cities.

    Highlights include:

    • City of Meaux, well known for its Brie cheeses
    • Château-Thierry, the scene of major battles in World War I
    • Scenery and endless vineyards on the rolling banks of the Marne River
    • Epernay

    Watch a preview of the tour!

    Looking for more? Be sure to view all of our bike and barge tours in France.

  • 2020

    Zwaantje, 8-day tour

    Twin cabin: £ 1195 $ 2,483 1394 $ 2119 NOK 13243 kr 12224 $ 1,589 Twin cabin/single use: £ 1749 $ 3,634 2040 $ 3101 NOK 19380 kr 17889 $ 2,326

    Clair de Lune, 8-day tour

    May 16
    Double bed cabin: £ 1061 $ 2,205 1238 $ 1882 NOK 11761 kr 10856 $ 1,411 Split level bed cabin: £ 1061 $ 2,205 1238 $ 1882 NOK 11761 kr 10856 $ 1,411 Single cabin: £ 1190 $ 2,472 1388 $ 2110 NOK 13186 kr 12172 $ 1,582

    August 1
    Double bed cabin: £ 979 $ 2,034 1142 $ 1736 NOK 10849 kr 10014 $ 1,302 Split level bed cabin: £ 979 $ 2,034 1142 $ 1736 NOK 10849 kr 10014 $ 1,302 Single cabin: £ 1117 $ 2,321 1303 $ 1981 NOK 12379 kr 11426 $ 1,485

    Elodie, 11-day tour

    Twin/double cabin
    June 7 and June 18: £ 1667 $ 3,465 1945 $ 2956 NOK 18478 kr 17056 $ 2,217 July 19: £ 1633 $ 3,393 1905 $ 2896 NOK 18098 kr 16705 $ 2,172 July 30: £ 1654 $ 3,438 1930 $ 2934 NOK 18335 kr 16925 $ 2,200 Twin cabin for single use on request and offered at 50% of tour price supplement
     


     

    extra options

    2020

    Zwaantje

    Electric bicycle: £ 86 $ 178 100 $ 152 NOK 950 kr 877 $ 114

    Clair de Lune

    Electric bicycle: £ 71 $ 148 83 $ 126 NOK 789 kr 728 $ 95 Celiac, gluten free, vegan diets: £ 43 $ 89 50 $ 76 NOK 475 kr 438 $ 57

    Elodie

    Electric bicycle rental (limited number): £ 171 $ 356 200 $ 304 NOK 1900 kr 1754 $ 228 Helmet rental:€ 10
    Basic laundry service, per load, (payable onboard): £ 9 $ 18 10 $ 15 NOK 95 kr 88 $ 11 *Special dietary requests, per day: £ 4 $ 9 5 $ 8 NOK 48 kr 44 $ 6 Please note that vegan diets cannot be accommodated.



     

    please note

    Rates are per person based on double occupancy.

    Information to read before you book.

    We recommend purchasing bike trip insurance.

    Please see our FAQ.

  • Travel

    Fly into Charles De Gaulle International Airport in Paris. (CDG)

    Local Travel

    Local travel will depend on the boat you are booked on.

    Zwaantje:
    For tour starts in Paris: The Zwaantje will be docked at the Quai de Bercy, along the Seine River near the bridge Pont de Bercy. Station Gare de Lyon is not far from the docking location. To get to Gare Du Lyon from the airport you can take either an airport shuttle, the RER train, Line B, or a taxi.
    For tour starts in Epernay:
    From CDG, you can take a train to Epernay. Transfers and travel time depend on departure time and type of train. The boat is moored approx. 1 km from the train station.
    Clair de Lune:
    For tour starts in Paris: From the airport you can take a train to Paris Gare du Nord, the nearest station to the mooring location. Gare de l’Est will work as well. Trains run regularly and travel time is 35 minutes. From the trains stations, you take a metro to very near the embarkation point or a taxi (travel time between 10 and 20 minutes, cost approx. €25 to 40.)
    For tour starts in Epernay:
    From CDG, you can take a train to Epernay. You will have to change trains in Reims (TGV station Champagne/Ardennes). Travel time is approx. 2.5 hours. The train station is located about 1.5 km away from the embarkation point so it is recommended to take a taxi.
    Elodie information is pending
    All final docking locations will be provided to you approximately one month before your tour date.

    Climate

    The climate of the Champagne region is mild and consistent, especially considering its northern location, and contributes as much as the grapes themselves to the production of champagne. This region has extended sunny days in the summer and early fall because of its northern location. Estimates indicate the the Champagne region experiences 500 hours of sunshine per year. Be sure you check local conditions before your arrival. A good website to visit to explore regional weather conditions including average high/low temperatures, average rainfall, and more is weatherbase.com.

    Recommended

    In France, it is not mandatory for adults to wear a helmet, however, we strongly recommend that you do so. Helmets are included on the Zwaantje and the Clair de Lune and available for rental on the Elodie. Another option is to bring your own helmet for proper fit and safety. French law now mandates that children under the age of 12 must wear a helmet. Children helmets are NOT available on board the Zwaantje and Elodie. Please ask before you book if your child can be accommodated with a helmet on the Clair de Lune.

    Remarks

    You will be part of an international group of travelers. Crew and tour guides do speak English.

    Special diets:

    The Elodie cannot accommodate Vegan meals.

    DOCUMENTS

    Before you travel, please check your country's passport and visa requirements and the passport and visa requirements of the country/countries you plan to visit. For US citizens, the US Department of State website is a good source of information. The Country Information tab in the International Travel section provides details about passport validity, blank passport pages required, etc. For our other international clients, please be sure that you research your own country's travel requirements. It is each traveler's responsibility to ensure proper documentation.

    *Important note: Beginning July 1, 2021, additional documentation from the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) will be required to visit any of the 26 Schengen-member countries for tourism, business, medical, or transit. This is an additional check on security rather than a visa.


Tour Dates

2020

Zwaantje (8-day tour)

Paris to Epernay: May 30 and June 13, 2020
Epernay to Paris: May 23, June 6, and June 20, 2020

Clair de Lune (8-day tour)

Paris to Epernay: May 16, 2020
Epernay to Paris: August 1, 2020

Elodie (11-day tour)

Paris to Epernay: June 7 and July 19, 2020
Epernay to Paris: June 18 and July 30, 2020


 

Skill Level

This is a moderate level tour that is at times challenging with hilly terrain and varied country roads. It is for experienced bikers in good physical condition. The tour is fully guided and every day you will cycle along small country roads (short distances on dirt or semi-paved roads and tracks) that go up and down the hills adjacent to the river valley and through Champagne vineyards. Cycling distances vary from 30–50 km (19–31 miles) per day. You can also cycle self-guided for short stretches if you prefer depending on the boat you are on. It is assumed that you are fully prepared for your cycling itinerary, have good balance on your bicycle and excellent command at all times.

Where You’ll Stay

On the comfort plus boats, the Zwaantje or the Elodie, or the standard plus boat, the Clair de Lune.

What’s Included

Zwaantje

  • Accommodation on board for 7 nights
  • All meals, breakfast, picnic lunch during cycling itinerary. In 2020, 1 dinner will be excluded.
  • Coffee and tea on board
  • Welcome drink
  • Bed linen and towels
  • Daily cleaning of the cabin
  • Climate-controlled cabin
  • Daily briefings
  • Fully guided cycling tours (1 tour leader)
  • Some short walking tours
  • Maps for cycling tours (1 set per cabin)
  • GPS tracks
  • Bike rental with helmet, lock, and pannier bag
  • Water bottle
  • Fees for ferries
  • Brie cheese tasting in Jouarre
  • Champagne tasting at local producer
  • Visit champagne cellar in Epernay
  • Wi-Fi
  • Laundry service available with supplement

Clair de Lune

  • Accommodation on board for 7 nights
  • All meals, breakfast, packed lunches, and 7 dinners
  • Coffee and tea
  • Bed linens and towels
  • Fully guided cycling tours (1 tour leader)
  • Some short walking tours
  • 24 gear hybrid touring bicycle with helmet, lock, and pannier bags
  • Route information
  • Ferry fares en route

Elodie

  • Accommodations on board for 10 nights
  • All meals, breakfast buffets, packed lunches, and 9 dinners
  • Coffee and tea on board
  • Bed linen and towels
  • Climate controlled cabin
  • Daily briefings
  • Fully guided cycling tours (1 tour leader)
  • Maps if requested to plan personal itinerary
  • 24-speed hybrid bicycle with pannier, water bottle, and lock
  • Harbor dues and tourist tax

What’s Not Included

Zwaantje

  • 2020: 1 dinner
  • Transfer to/from docking locations in Paris and Epernay
  • Admittance fees to museums, attractions, etc
  • Drinks other than those mentioned
  • Gratuities (at your discretion)
  • Electric bike. Available with supplement. See pricing.
  • Bicycle Protection
  • Travel Insurance

Clair de Lune

  • Transfer to/from docking locations in Paris and Epernay
  • Admittance fees to museums, attractions etc
  • Drinks other than those mentioned
  • Gratuities (at your discretion)
  • Electric bike. Available with supplement. See pricing.
  • Bicycle Protection
  • Travel Insurance

Elodie

  • Transfer to/from docking locations in Paris and Epernay
  • All drinks
  • One dinner
  • Gratuities (at your discretion)
  • Electric bike. Available with supplement. See pricing.
  • Bicycle Protection (mandatory)
  • Travel Insurance

Extra Stay

You may want to consider booking some extra nights in Paris!

TourBike+Boat
TypeGuided
SkillModerate
Length8–11 days
From1142 Rates
Tour Reviews

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Tour Boats

Day-To-Day Itinerary

Champagne Tour Map

Each boat has a different itinerary, as well as what is included and not included. Please take a look at each boat, description, pricing, etc.

Paris to Epernay


Day 1: Arrival in Paris
Day 2: Paris - Lagny-sur-Marne, 13 or 26 mi. (22 or 42 km)
Day 3: Lagny-sur-Marne - Meaux, 21 mi. (35 km)
Day 4: Meaux – La Ferté-sous-jouarre, 18 or 32 mi. (30 or 52 km)
Day 5: La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre – Château-Thierry, 26 mi. (42 km)
Day 6: Château-Thierry – Dormans – Epernay, 19 or 35 mi. (30 or 50 km)
Day 7: Epernay round tour, 10 or 16 mi. (17 or 25 km); visit Epernay and Champagne houses
Day 8: Departure from Epernay

*All distances are “approximate distances” of recommended bike tours. If you do not feel like cycling one or more days, you can always relax on board while cruising to the next town. Program and details barring changes, a.o. as a result of nautical, technical or meteorological reasons. If there are 18 or more booked, two tour guides will be riding and on certain days can offer a longer or shorter itinerary.

Day 1: Arrival in Paris
Embarkation and check-in at 2 p.m. at the Quai de Bercy on the Seine river in Paris. After a welcome by the captain, crew and tour leader there is time for a walking tour through Paris. After dinner on board, there is a first briefing about the barge, bicycles and tour program.

Day 2:  Paris - Lagny-sur-Marne, 21 mi. (35 km)
You leave Paris by bike via the canal de l’Ourcq. A bike path leads from the place the la Bastille (close to the mooring place of the Zwaantje), via the bassin of la Villette to the banks of the l’Ourcq. This canal was built by order of Napoleon Bonaparte. The canal provided the city with water and played an important role in the transportation of goods to and from the city. Destination of today is Lagny, a nice little town along the Marne.

Day 3: Lagny-sur-Marne - Meaux, 13 or 26 mi. (22 or 42 km)
In Lagny-sur-Marne, you ride, mainly along the Marne river and its parallel canal. In case you opt for the short ride, the first challenge is the hill near Chalifert. The barge will take the tunnel through the hill, but cyclists can test their fitness and muscles for the first time by climbing and crossing the hill by bicycle. Also on the longer option, the first part is quite hilly because you have to leave the valley of the Marne. Later you will follow the small Canal de l’Ourq that was built by Napoleon to transport wood, grain and fresh water to Paris. Today’s destination is the city of Meaux, famous for its “Brie de Meaux” cheeses and the magnificent Cathedral St.-Etienne. Night in Meaux.

Day 4: Meaux – La Ferté-sous-jouarre, 18 or 32 mi. (30 or 52 km)
There are a few cycling options today. The shorter option will lead you over the hills and slopes of the Marne valley on the south bank of the river through forests and small villages. The longer option stays in the valley of the river in the morning with a ride through Trilport and Lizy-sur Ourcq. Later you will have to climb a few challenging hills, leaving the valley in the direction of Jouarre. In Jouarre, all cyclists can enjoy a very nice presentation and tasting of the famous Brie de Meaux and Brie noir cheeses at the family-run Fromagerie Ganot. Dinner on board and night in La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre or a village nearby.

Day 5: La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre – Château-Thierry, 26 mi. (42 km)
Enjoy a somewhat challenging cycling tour from La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre to Château-Thierry. The first part of the cycling track leads you along the Marne river. After a few miles, you will take a side valley and follow country roads through various small villages and hamlets. Continue riding uphill until you finally reach the plateau above the northern part of the Marne valley. The side valleys are mainly covered with forest, on the plateau agriculture is predominant. Follow the valley of the small river Clignon. En route, you can visit the large WW1 American War Cemetery and Monument near Belleau on the D82. Start your descent to reach Château-Thierry. Dinner on board and night in Château-Thierry. Château-Thierry owes its name to the castle that once was situated on the slopes above the Marne. You can still see some remnants. The town was the site of two important battles: the Battle of 1814 in the Napoleonic Wars between France and Prussia and the Battle of 1918 at the end of World War I. Château-Thierry is also known as the native town of the world-famous writer of fables Jean de la Fontaine.

Day 6: Château-Thierry – Dormans – Epernay, 19 or 35 mi. (30 or 50 km)
During breakfast, the ship will take us to the lock of Mont St. Pierre or even a bit further upstream to Dormans. Today we will enter the official Champagne area. Dormans is a quiet village on the Marne with a castle and chapel in memory of the battle of the Marne. During World War I this area was the scene of intense battles. A ride up the northern valley slope to the village of Châtillon-sur Marne rewards the cyclist with a stunning panoramic view over the Marne valley and the Champagne vineyards. During the cycling tour, you will see the Château de Boursault, a large castle built in 1848 by the widow of Mr. Clicquot, who gave her name (“Veuve Clicquot”) to a famous Champagne wine. Dinner on board and night in Epernay.

Day 7:  Epernay round tour, 10 or 16 mi. (17 or 25 km)
The last half day’s cycling tour takes you along the quiet canal parallel to the Marne River to Ay and Mareuil-sur-Ay. Return via Dizy to visit Hautvillers. After a somewhat challenging ascent, you will reach this picturesque village of Champagne wine growers on the southern slopes of the Montagne de Reims. A highlight is a visit of the chapel with the tomb of the monk Dom Pérignon (1638-1715). In charge of the wine cellars of a Benedictine abbey, Dom Pérignon pioneered a number of winemaking techniques, being the first to blend grapes in such a way as to improve regional wines into a wine of superb quality. Double fermentation, characteristic for the making of champagne, was introduced also by him. Return cycling to Epernay. After lunch, visit the center of Epernay. Together with Reims, Epernay is the major wine center of the Champagne region, where three extensive wine regions meet: the Montagne de Reims, the Côte des Blancs and the Vallée de la Marne. Epernay has many townhouses dating in neo-renaissance style or classical style dating from the 19th century, especially around the beautiful Avenue the Champagne where prestigious champagne houses, such as Moët & Chandon and Mercier, are situated. Enjoy a Champagne tasting and take a tour in one of the major Champagne houses.

Day 8: Departure from Epernay
Disembarkation after breakfast by 9:30 AM.

Epernay to Paris


Day 1: Arrival in Epernay. Boarding at 2 pm
Day 2: Epernay round tour, 10 or 16 mi. (17 or 25 km)
Day 3: Epernay - Dormans - Château-Thierry, 19 or  35 mi. (30 or 50 km)
Day 4: Château-Thierry - La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre, 26 mi. (42 km)
Day 5: La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre – Meaux,  18 or 32 mi.  (30 or 52 km)
Day 6: Meaux - Lagny-sur-Marne, 13 or 26 mi. (22 or 42  km) 
Day 7: Lagnyo-sur-Marne - Paris, 21 mi. (35 km)
Day 8: Departure from Paris

Paris to Epernay

Day 1: Arrival in Paris
Day 2: Paris - Lagny-sur-Marne, 19 mi. (31 km)
Day 3: Lagny-sur-Marne - Meaux, 28 miles (45 km)
Day 4: Meaux – La Ferté-sous-jouarre, 25 miles (40 km)
Day 5: La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre – Château-Thierry, 32 miles (50 km)
Day 6: Château-Thierry – Dormans – Epernay, 28 mi.  (45 km)
Day 7: Epernay round tour, 10 or 16 mi. (17 or 25 km); visit Epernay and Champagne houses
Day 8: Departure from Epernay

*All distances are “approximate distances” of recommended bike tours. If you do not feel like cycling one or more days, you can always relax on board while cruising to the next town. Program and details barring changes, a.o. as a result of nautical, technical or meteorological reasons.

Day 1: Arrival in Paris
Embarkation and check-in between 12 and 2 pm at the mooring location near the Seine River in the center of Paris. You can bring your luggage on board at 11 am but the cabins will not be ready for check-in. In the evening you will be offered a guided city walk.

Day 2:  Paris - Lagny-sur-Marne, 19 mi. (31 km)
You leave Paris by bike via the canal de l’Ourcq. A bike path leads via the bassin of la Villette to the banks of the l’Ourcq. This canal was built by order of Napoleon Bonaparte. The canal provided the city with water and played an important role in the transportation of goods to and from the city. Destination of today is Lagny, a nice little town along the Marne.

Day 3: Lagny-sur-Marne - Meaux, 28 mi. (45 km)
In Lagny-sur-Marne, you ride, mainly along the Marne river and its parallel canal. You will encounter hills as you are now leaving the valley. Later you will follow the small Canal de l’Ourq, a mostly flat route,  that was built by Napoleon to transport wood, grain and fresh water to Paris. Today’s destination is the city of Meaux, famous for its “Brie de Meaux” cheeses and the magnificent Cathedral St.-Etienne. Night in Meaux.

Day 4: Meaux – La Ferté-sous-jouarre, 25 miles (40 km)
In the morning you stay in the valley of the river with a ride through Trilport and Lizy-sur-Ourcq. Later you will have to climb a few challenging hills, leaving the valley in the direction of Jouarre. Jouarre, is a center of Brie making and you will be able to find a place where you can enjoy a tasting of the famous Brie de Meaux and Brie noir cheeses.

Day 5: La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre – Château-Thierry, 32 miles (50 km)
Enjoy a somewhat challenging cycling tour from La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre to Château-Thierry. The first part of the cycling track leads you along the Marne river. After a few miles, you will take a side valley and follow country roads through various small villages and hamlets. Continue riding uphill until you finally reach the plateau above the northern part of the Marne valley. The side valleys are mainly covered with forest, on the plateau agriculture is predominant. Follow the valley of the small river Clignon. En route, you can visit the large WW1 American War Cemetery and Monument near Belleau on the D82. Start your descent to reach Château-Thierry. Dinner on board and night in Château-Thierry. Château-Thierry owes its name to the castle that once was situated on the slopes above the Marne. You can still see some remnants. The town was the site of two important battles: the Battle of 1814 in the Napoleonic Wars between France and Prussia and the Battle of 1918 at the end of World War I. Château-Thierry is also known as the native town of the world-famous writer of fables Jean de la Fontaine.

Day 6: Château-Thierry – Dormans – Epernay,  28 mi.  (45 km)
During breakfast, the ship will take us to the lock of Mont St. Pierre or even a bit further upstream to Dormans. Today we will enter the official Champagne area. Dormans is a quiet village on the Marne with a castle and chapel in memory of the battle of the Marne. During World War I this area was the scene of intense battles. A ride up the northern valley slope to the village of Châtillon-sur Marne rewards the cyclist with a stunning panoramic view over the Marne valley and the Champagne vineyards. During the cycling tour you will see the Château de Boursault, a large castle built in 1848 by the widow of Mr. Clicquot, who gave her name (“Veuve Clicquot”) to a famous Champagne wine. Your destination of today is Epernay, with Reims the major wine center of the Champagne region. Epernay has many townhouses in neo-renaissance style or classical style dating from the 19th century, especially around the beautiful Avenue the Champagne where prestigious champagne houses, such as Moët & Chandon and Mercier, are situated. Dinner on board and night in Epernay.

Day 7:  Epernay round tour, 16 mi. (25 km)
The last half day’s cycling tour takes you along the quiet canal parallel to the Marne river to Ay and Mareuil-sur-Ay. Return via Dizy to visit Hautvillers. After a somewhat challenging ascent you will reach this picturesque village of Champagne wine growers on the southern slopes of the Montagne de Reims. A highlight is a visit of the chapel with the tomb of the monk Dom Pérignon (1638-1715). In charge of the wine cellars of a Benedictine abbey, Dom Pérignon pioneered a number of winemaking techniques, being the first to blend grapes in such a way as to improve regional wines into a wine of superb quality. Double fermentation, characteristic for the making of champagne, was introduced also by him. Return cycling to Epernay. After lunch, visit the center of Epernay. Together with Reims, Epernay is the major wine center of the Champagne region, where three extensive wine regions meet: the Montagne de Reims, the Côte des Blancs, and the Vallée de la Marne. Epernay has many townhouses dating in neo-renaissance style or classical style dating from the 19th century, especially around the beautiful Avenue the Champagne where prestigious champagne houses, such as Moët & Chandon and Mercier, are situated. Enjoy a Champagne tasting and take a tour in one of the major Champagne houses.

Day 8: Departure from Epernay
Disembarkation after breakfast by 9:30 AM.

Epernay to Paris

Day 1: Arrival in Epernay. Boarding at 2 pm
Day 2: Epernay round tour, 16 mi. (25 km)
Day 3: Epernay - Dormans - Château-Thierry, 28 mi. (45  km)
Day 4: Château-Thierry - La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre, 31 mi. (50 km)
Day 5: La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre – Meaux, 25 mi.  (40 km)
Day 6: Meaux - Lagny-sur-Marne, 28 mi. (45  km)
Day 7: Lagny-sur-Marne - Paris, 21 mi. (36 km)
Day 8: Departure from Paris

Paris to Epernay

Day 1: Paris, 9 mi. (15 km)
Day 2: Paris - Lagny sur Marne, 24 mi. (38 km)
Day 3: Lagny sur Marne - Meaux, 24 mi. (38 km)
Day 4: Meaux - La Ferte sur Marne (isles-les-Meldeuses), 20 mi. (32 km)
Day 5: La Ferte - Chateau Thierry, 25 mi. (41 km) 
Day 6: Chateau Thierry, 16 mi. (26 km)
Day 7: Chateau Thierry - Dormans, 19 mi. (30 km) 
Day 8: Dormans - Cumiere via Hautvillers, 23 mi. (36 km)
Day 9: Cumieres - Epernay, 25 mi. (40 km)
Day 10: Epernay
Day 11: Departure

*All distances are “approximate distances” of recommended bike tours. If you do not feel like cycling one or more days, you can always relax on board while cruising to the next town. Program and details barring changes, a.o. as a result of nautical, technical or meteorological reasons.

Day 1: Paris, 9 mi. (15 km)
Arrival on board the Elodie in Paris where the crew will welcome you with a nice cup of coffee or tea. Introduction to the crew, explanation of the rules on board, information on the program. After the
introduction,  you will enjoy a short tour along the cycle-paths of Paris. Now you can get comfortable with your bike and make the necessary adjustments. Paris, of course, is a very busy city but you will be surprised that you can experience a nice cycle trip without being bothered by the traffic.

Day 2: Paris - Lagny sur Marne, 24 mi. (38 km)
Through lanes and parks you will "meander" your way out of Paris to get to the river Marne. Along the banks of the river, you cycle towards Lagny sur Marne,  passing the "Nestle
building".  This company, famous for producing excellent chocolate, has situated its headquarters in an extraordinary building. Continuing your tour,  you can admire the "outskirts" of Paris with its
beautiful houses and green surroundings. You will overnight at Lagny sur Marne. 

Day 3: Lagny sur Marne - Meaux, 28 mi. (45 km)
Today is a challenging cycling day and you will have a bit of climbing but will be rewarded with nice panoramic views. You will pay a visit to the beautiful sculpture garden of Dhuys. These monuments are made of the
remains of the bridge over the Dhuys that was bombed during the second world war. On your way, passing Villeneuve-le-comte,  the path leads through the beautiful forest of Guette. The city of Meaux has a nice atmosphere and is famous for its cheese and mustard. Your chef will give you a taste of the culinary highlights of this region. Meaux has a beautiful cathedral and it is worth it to make a nice evening stroll along the river banks of the Marne.

Day 4: Meaux - La Ferte sur Marne (isles-les-Meldeuses), 20 mi. (32 km)
Today you visit the ruins of an old Chateaux built by Catherine the Medicis. It is not guaranteed but probably you will be able to have your morning coffee on the estate and get to know more about the history of the Chateaux by the owner. Depending on what is available, you may visit "La Ferme de la Valiere" to taste some of the local products. The story goes that Louis the XVI on his deathbed requested to have a final taste of the Brie the Meaux before he was to close his eyes forever. You will cycle to the locks of isles-les-meldeuses where the Elodie will be waiting for you to take you on a nice two and a half hour boat ride over the river Marne to La Ferte the Jouare for the night.

Day 5: La Ferte-sous-Jouarre - Chateau Thierry, 25 mi. (41 km) 
Along the Marne,  you will cycle deeper into the Champagne region as you will see more and more vineyards. Chateau Thierry is your final destination. It is the city of the great French Poet Jean de la
Fontaine, born in 1621, who wrote many famous fables like Le corbeau et le renard ( the raven and the fox). In the evening, you will stroll around the remains of the Castle Thiery, a medieval Castle that was damaged during the French revolution.

Day 6: Chateau Thierry, 16 mi. (26 km)
The Elodie will stay in Chateau Thierry for the day. This will allow you to visit the market in the morning and in the afternoon you can attend the eagle show in the Chateau. Around Chateau Thiery there are many WWI monuments. If you do not care too much for markets, you can join your guide for a bike ride to visit the large WW1 American War Cemetery and Monument near Belleau. On your way back to Chateau Thierry, you will visit Hill 204. This monument is a symbol of the gratitude the French expressed to the Americans for their support in WWI. In the spring of 1918, the Americans troop took part in the "second" battle of the Marne" to stop the German troops from reaching Paris. They succeeded in stopping them and the battle is now considered as one of the turning points in the Great War.

Day 7: Chateau Thierry - Dormans, 19 mi. (30 km) 
Departing from Chateau Thierry, you leave the river Marne into the valley of the Surmelin to the town of Conde en Brie. In this little town, you can visit a duck farm where they make the famous foie grass. Your destination Dorman is a nice small town where you can find the Moulin d’en Haut. This windmill house, located in the park of the castle of Dormans, is also an ecological museum that is dedicated to the daily life of the traditional Champagne region way of life. In the same park, you can visit an interesting WWI memorial designed as a church for remembrance and very much appreciated by the famous French WWI general Foch.

Day 8: Dormans - Cumiere via Hautvillers, 23 mi. (36 km)
In the morning you will visit the snail museum in Try, your first stop. Continuing along the Marne river you come to the village of Hautviller on top of the hill. Through the vineyards, you will reach this picturesque village of Champagne wine growers on the southern slopes of the Montagne de Reims. It will be possible to visit several Champaign houses today. A highlight is a visit of the chapel with the tomb of the monk Dom Pérignon. According to tradition, Dom Pérignon (1638-1715), who was in charge of the wine cellars of the abbey of Benedictine monks, first succeeded in blending various kinds of wine into a wine of superb quality. Double fermentation, characteristic for the making of the most prestigious champagne, was introduced also by him.

Day 9: Cumieres - Epernay, 25 mi. (40 km)
This day you will cycle along the grand cru terroirs to the heart of the Champagne region, Epernay. In Bisseuil after a cup of coffee, your cycle tour follows a relatively flat terrain until we get to the climb to Avize. The last 500 meters, you will walk to a magnificent viewpoint over the valley. On top of the Hill there is a petanque field where your guide will introduce you to the game of petanque. It is also an excellent place to have lunch while enjoying the view. Cycling back along Cramant and Cuis through the vineyards of Veuve Clicquot and Tattinger, you will have time to visit one or more Champaign houses before we get to Epernay.

Day 10: Epernay
A day to visit the center of Epernay. Together with Reims, Epernay is the major wine center of the Champagne region, where three extensive wine regions meet: the Montagne, the Reims, and the Côte des Blancs and the Vallée de la Marne. Epernay has many townhouses dating in neo-renaissance style or classical style dating from the 19th century, especially around the beautiful Avenue the Champagne where prestigious champagne houses such as Moët & Chandon are situated. Champagne
tasting and tour in a Champagne house on the famous Avenue de Champagne. There is usually a market in the morning a shopping area and plenty of restaurants to have a nice dinner in the evening so you will have no trouble spending the day here.

Day 11: Epernay

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Tour Reviews

  • Orest M. 8 months ago     Verified Reviewer

    The Champagne tour combined the pleasures of riding through vineyards, sampling champagne on both public and private tours, exploring out of the way gems that you would never find on your own, getting to know an extraordinary captain and crew of the Zwaantje, and meeting new friends, topped off with time to explore the City of Light. Although some of the daily rides were difficult, don't hesitate to join this tour because of the hills - get an e-bike and you're guaranteed the experience of a lifetime. It doesn't get any better than this!

    Boat: Zwaantje

  • Ray S. 2 years ago     Verified Reviewer

    Most Memorable Part? How beautiful the country looked. Our first time to Europe. France made a big impression and hope to return. Merci beaucoup

    Boat: Zwaantje

  • Barry B. 2 years ago     Verified Reviewer

    When a vacation is better than your expectations, as it was, it is vundarbar.

    Boat: Zwaantje

  • Karyn P. 2 years ago     Verified Reviewer

    Most Memorable Part? Everything! The other cyclists, the barge crew, the food and of course the Champagne was all amazing!

    Boat: Elodie

  • Barry B. 2 years ago     Verified Reviewer

    Crew, guide, staff were attentive, cordial and helpful. Barge was clean and comfortable. Bike routes were very scenic and interesting. Mary Ann, our guide was very knowledgeable, and simply terrific. Will we go again?....absolutely yes.

    Boat: Zwaantje

  • Martha Y. 2 years ago     Verified Reviewer

    The most memorable part of the trip was the scenery and atmosphere.

    Boat: Zwaantje

  • Michael F. 2 years ago     Verified Reviewer

    The Captain and crew were just wonderful. While the sights were certainly great, like cheese making, Champagne tasting, visitng the ruins and the WWII cemeteries it was the warm welcome from the Captain and crew that really made this trip. There was nothing they wouldn't do for us including getting fresh baguettes every day, finding out our personal preferences for drinks after a long day in the saddle, and in general giving 110% to keep everyone happy. I strongly recommend the Captain and crew of the Zwaantje! I also must mention a big thank you to Carla and her crew at Tripsite for their assistance in getting us additional e-bikes. Without the e-bikes some of us just wouldn't have made the hills, with them we enjoyed every minute. Thank you!

    Boat: Zwaantje

  • Jeff K. 3 years ago     Verified Reviewer

    The boat staff was great. Food, service and cleanliness was excellent.

    Boat: Zwaantje

  • Paul L. 3 years ago     Verified Reviewer

    The Zwaantje barge crew were most excellent - great accommodations, food and customer service!! I would take another bike and barge trip with this group....it was an experience of a lifetime!

    Boat: Zwaantje

  • Fulton A. 3 years ago     Verified Reviewer

    Mega-kudos to the Zwaanje crew, headed by Martin. They're an extraordinary group.
    Our guide, Mintje, was good and well-intentioned, but she sometimes didn't grasp entirely the group's priorities.
    The route was fantastic -- scenery, length of rides, etc. The tours (champagne, brie, etc., were excellent, especially the family-owned company, Nowak. We learned things and had a lot of fun.
    We appreciated how Martin and Mintje responded to our requests for flexibility in developing distance options for less- and more-eager riders.
    Also, availability of electric bikes made it possible for spouses (of both sexes) to accompany on rides they usually wouldn't be able to do. We know electric bikes are controversial in some corners, but they made the trip possible for some of our group.
    One last thing ... TripSite's PDF summarizing the ride, proposing packing lists, giving directions and tips, was excellent. Read more… Congratulations.

    Boat: Zwaantje

  • D. Power 3 years ago     Verified Reviewer

    The staff on the Zwaantje made the trip!

    Boat: Zwaantje

  • D. Miller 3 years ago     Verified Reviewer

    The ship, captain and crew were wonderful. Our guide was totally unacceptable!

    My only complaint regarding the boat was due to the small cabins. The French locks are narrow, so the boat is narrow, making the rooms a bit to small for my comfort.

    Our main concern was the unprepared tour group leader. She was constantly undecided on how to proceed. I think it was more trying to please the group than not knowing what to do. There should have been a route guide for each person (all we received was a large map with no route shown on it). She needed to be a leader rather than a friend!

    Boat: Zwaantje

  • M. Dumestre 3 years ago     Verified Reviewer

    I highly recommend the Swaantje barge. The captain is both technically experienced and oriented toward customer satisfaction. The staff was very attentive to passenger needs.
    The bike guide was competent, but needed a bit more familiarity with the routes.

    Boat: Zwaantje

  • C. Robinson 3 years ago     Verified Reviewer

    Rooms really small; Guide was lost a lot; Staffers not very good with knowledge of E bikes;
    But food was great..staff was kind..trip was pretty.

    Boat: Zwaantje

  • D. Quigley 3 years ago     Verified Reviewer

    Your tour was so damn good l find l'm getting naught done cause l want to go again - tomorrow. Seriously, l received courteous service that was pertinent and addressed any of the issues that l might have experienced. Personally, l think the whole Bike and Barge tour was run to the highest professional standards under what were adverse weather conditions. You can't plan for the tidal wave like flood of water that swept down the rivers and the very fact that you were able to 'tap-dance in the snow' and continue to operate at all does you no amount of credit. So from me, a big thank you to all the staff and keep up the good work. it was indeed a distinct pleasure for me to bear witness as other professionals surmounted adversity and came out on top.
    D. Quigley - Melbourne, Australia.

    Boat: Zwaantje

  • D. Uram 3 years ago     Verified Reviewer

    For the most part the trip was wonderful, I would like to put most of my answers right in the middle of satisfied and not satisfied, I just thought the scenery and the landscape etc. was not what I expected. That is not your fault, enjoyed my trips to Italy and Germany were much more scenic

    Boat: Zwaantje

  • C. Bauer 3 years ago     Verified Reviewer

    The guide seemed lost most of the time. He didn't know where to stop for a picnic and one day we ate our lunches at a bus stop. I realize cafes mostly close in France between 12 and 2, but his lack of knowledge of where to find a toilet after lunch was a problem. He chastised us for being slow to re-organize, but then later we'd stop for no reason and wait for up to a half hour with no info from him. He was good at describing architecture.

    Boat: Zwaantje

    • Jehiel 3 years ago     Staff

      Hi C. Bauer,
      Thank you so much for your comment. We have contacted our local partner and assure you we are working very hard to improve this tour based on your feedback. Thanks again for sharing!

      Boat: Zwaantje

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Champagne Tour Boats + Barges

Elodie Photo

Elodie Netherlands, Belgium, France Premium Class Boat The Elodie was built in 1931 and has been completely refurbished into a luxury holiday ship. The ship has a saloon and sundeck and all of its cabins come with air-conditioning. The saloon of the Elodie is furnished in ship-style by using various types of wood in the finishing.

Zwaantje Photo

Zwaantje France, Netherlands, Belgium Comfort Class Boat The MPS Zwaantje, which means "Little Swaan", is a wonderful comfort plus barge. The boat has 10 cabins with twin beds and 2 cabins with double beds. A nice and cozy salon with heating, air conditioning, large panoramic windows, a restaurant area, lounge corner and a small bar are on the upper deck.

Clair de Lune Photo

Clair de Lune France Standard Class Boat In May 2014, Marco Pouw and his wife Astrid assumed ownership of the ship Clair de Lune. Originally built in 1936 as a freight ship in Belgium, like many of the vessels now used for biking and boating, this vessel was renovated and equipped for a new bike and boat adventure in and around Paris, launching in the spring of 2015. Marco has years of experience as a skipper on freighters in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany and approaches his new venture with great enthusiasm.

PWPC